tv [untitled] February 18, 2012 9:30am-10:00am EST
of children, the elderly and the handicapped. we at ohio state are blessed to be able to call you one of our very own. [ applause ] the other half of this remarkable couple is, of course, tonight's distinguished speaker. all of you are awrar of how highly the american people regard senator glenn. he is deserve edly recognized as one of our nation's foremost public servants. indeed for tens of millions of americans, he is the quintessential american hero. so you can imagine the special pride we in ohio have for this native son of the buckeye state. how appropriate it was that the senator was asked to carry the
american flag in this winter's olympic games. as annie mentioned, we at ohio state are blessed to be the home of the john glenn instituted for public service, public john gle. the distinguished director is with us this evening, debra merit. debra, would you please stand? thank you. inspired by john glenn's career and his vision, the institute is having a major impact on our students, faculty and programs. just ask the students from tins tut's washington internship program who are here this evening. we gather this evening on the 40th anniversary of senator glenn's historic flight to hear this distinguished american
deliver the 2002 verir in vonn bron memorial lek sure. many of you will recall as i do the enormous sense of national pride we felt 40 years ago today as we sat glued to our television sets to watch astronaut john glenn lift off the face of the earth, cirqoupl navigate the globe and land safely in the atlantic ocean. he became, of course, an instant national hero. few, if any, have ever carried acclaim and hero status with such grace and humility. you're all familiar with the mile posts along his illustrious career path, his service as a decorated marine corps pilot and record breaking test pilot, his service as a mercury astronaut, his successful career in business and his work to protect
the environment, his distinguished 24-year career in the united states senate, making him the first ohioan to serve four consecutive terms, and his it, age 77 on nasa's "discovery" mission just over three years ago. what an extraordinary man. what an extraordinary , plse join me in welcoming a national national hero in 20002, senator john glenn. [ applause ] . >> thank you.
thank you all very much. thank you. thank you all. thank you, ladies and gentlemen and thank you, brit very much. the sound system, how is it up there? can you hear all right? okay, good. brit, of course, is no stranger to washington here. he was president of the university of maryland for about nine years i think it was and did a great job a great job that we promoted him to ohio state. i thought i'd get some boos from this crowd on that. the host director of the air an space museum, general jack daley who i knew in the marine corps, nasa days and now here at the museum, i don't think what his problem was. he got so excited about the olympics, he tried to play 20-year-old again. i know that's a painful thing to
have happen, your ak kim lease tendon go out. 40th anniversary. hard to believe. the other factors were brought home to me a short time ago when i got a letter from a young man 9 years of age in illinois. i won't give you his exact name. this is an actual letter, it's not something i made up. it said, dear mr. glenn, i'm andrew, i won't give his last name. it's 9 years, i'm in third grade at lions school. i wish you could come. just recently i had to do a biography, and picked you. when i had to do my presentation, i made a poster and dressed like an astronaut. i have a question for what it was like to be shot at in a plane, what are you working for now. this is the part i liked. i'm glad you're still alive because a lot of my classmates biography choices are already dead. i hope you write back. [ laughter ] that letter ghe ofr
sent out, i can guarantee you. seems more like 40 days than 40 years ago. it's been vividly impressed on me from back at the time of the flight but recalled so often, ii remember how things felt and looked and so on. but when i talked with jack tonight, he suggested we do a retrospective on things that maybe have not been as much in the public press as some of the other factors like you've seen on the screen here when we came in this evening and things like that. so i won't go back on that kind of a thing. i do want to bring out some of the things i hope are a little more unusual with regard to our training, our selection and training and so on. but first i'd like to pause for a moment here to help us all understand the mood of those days back in the early 1960s and
why some of the decisions were made and for an international backdrop, it goes something like this. we came out of world war ii, and our peace at that time was very short-lived. we went into the korean war. worldwide communism was on the march. it was the date of joe mccarthy and i have in my pocket the name of 200 communists in the state department. hollywood writers were being black lifted, soviet military equipment was going to third world countries. senate hearings were prolific about not only mccarthy but what was happening to us. the soviets had taken latvia, lithuania, parts of poland, finland, romania. they controlled east germany, hungry, poland, romania and north korea. there were local communist governments that had taken over in yugoslavia, albania and north vietnam. there were strong communist parties in france and italy.
china had gone communist before in 1949 with 20% of the human race. lest we doubted their sincerity about what they were trying to do, the soviets crushed revolts in east germany in '53 and hung garry in '56. we had considered ourselves to be a leader in the world in science and technology and recognized for those areas. now the soviets claimed it was their technical superiority and the world should follow their and taking students by the thousands to russia, moscow and training them and bringing them back ag back to their own countries.na extolled the virtues of communism. fte this beforesaying we will the bay of pigs disaster. the soviets gained dre tremendous credibility. this was something with very,
very serious for dwrunt states. there were many inth for the lo know whether we could be certain of just exactly what was going to happen. now, that's the times in which the space race was born. cruise chef when they made their first successful launch when we failed to do the same thing said with their new he quoted, social lichl has try ummed not only fully by irreversibly, quote. that's where the space race started. the soviets were going to space to prove their superiority and they said so. we were trying and too often we were failing. and that was too bad, also they orbited sputnik, a model of which is in the center hall outside if you look up toward the balcony area. exact model of it. went up on the 4th of october, 1957, beeping its way around the
world. khrushchev once again said the u.s. sleeps under a soviet moon. we tried to counter a few months later with vanguard and it blew up after a four-foot lift off the pad. we remember those pictures very, very well. with those background entered the manned program. tensions were brought to a new level, lines were drawn and the space race was under way. the media concentrated mainly on the race aspects of it. i always thought that it was something after people had looked up for tens of thousands of years and wondered what was up there, it was something that once we developed a capability to do this, it would have happened sometime anyway. the i'm pe tus for it back at that time certainly was the space race. now we had the ability to learn, though. it was going to be of great, great value, space race or not. ment kennedy was looked at as a space president, still is because of his decision to send the people to the moon, but i think many have overlooked some of the role that -- part of the
role that president eisenhower played because he made some very key decisions. he originally had not been much impressed with sputnik, thought it was a stunt more than anything else, didn't amount to a whole lot and said so publicly. it was his decision when he reversed his mind on this and decided this was very important that changed naca the old national advisory committee for aeronautics because the new national aeronautics and space administration. he wanted a manned program and didn't want it to be military, he wanted to contrast it with the soef yelts, wanted it to be an open program, didn't want it to be the program that the air force proposed at edwards air force base program. he went with nasa because it could be done sooner because time was of the essence back in those days. instead of us sending out a group of people from which the astronauts would be selected out of a group of perhaps drivers and parachutists, racers,exorer
kind or another, he decided military test pilots were qualified to do the job since they operated in small cockpits and high speeds and so on. there were about 110 people qualified to meet the conditions that were set down. 32 were selected for physical and selection process, and out of that process came the seven mercury astronauts some of these things we went through back then might be of interest in a little more detail.t of love las was very mundane, except it was the most extensive physical as far as we knew that had ever been given to any group like that. blood, urine, percent above difficult fat, gi track, blood exercise, balance, eye, ear, vestibular. ever tried cold water in the ear? dlve you ever tried that one. cold water in the ear, long
enough running cold water in until yor mechanism, the fluid starts moving because of the different temperatures in different parts of it. you get nystagmus so bad which ise and your eyes keep moving off like this, just as if you've been rotated in a chair and become very, very dizzy. they timed how long it took you to settle down from that. another one i've never seen donny where before nor since, when we went to wright patterso additional checks they wanted to run on us, they did anti pa morphic studies. human beings break down into different body types. some of you wgi me chapter and that, of course. it's basic ek toe, endo and meso morph which are the types, slender, average and intending to be overweight. to measure us in these areas, and i never did know why this was of value, hey had us stand
like that with our legs apart like this, arms out like this and stand very, very still. they took pictures from every angle you can consist from right between our feet straight up to head down to right and left, forward and backward. now, i thought those may be interesting for somebody in the archives sometime to look at, but it was brought home to me that this was not something i should have taken so lightly when at a political rally in the dayton area not too long after i had been in the senate a woman came up to me and said i probably know more about you y about yourself. she was one charged with making all the measurements of those pictures that we had sent in. i immediately left and haven't seen her since, don't want to see her since. at wright patterson we went through additional checks that nobody goes through now. in an isolation chamber an en
echoic chamber, put us in a chamber without telling us how long we're going to be in there separately one at a time with skin sensors on to see how alert you were going to be, no light, no sound. there you sat on a chair at a desk. that was it. you're supposed to stay alert i guess. so what i did, i thought that's what they wanted us to do. they just wanted to see the reaction you got. down through a desk drawer and found what i found was a pad of paper, leafed through it till i thought there was a blank page and sat with a pencil i happened to have doing dog real poetry which was a good exercise because you had to remember what went before to make it rhyme. me out after about 4 1/2 hours. but the poetry was never published. i can guarantee you that. heat chamber, running body temperature up. they had the heat at 135 degrees. sound, that was an interesting one. they put you in a chamber and
they could vary the sound, the frequency and the amplitude. they'd vary it at all frequencies and different strpth of sound. you actually would get a harmonic on a bone -- they briefed us ahead of time, a harmonic on the bone length to where the bone tickled where it reverberated inside your body. light pulse, another theory back then was the certain light sensitivities of some people would -- if you had a certain strobe, a certain number of cycles per second, some people would be particularly sensitive to different frequencies, it might interfere with their whole nervous system. we were put in this where you had light pulses of strobe lights, they can make it brighter or dimmer. run the frequency up and down. they briefed us at about ten cycles per second, seemed to be debilitating to some people. they'd run a lot of tests on this.
some people would phase out a little bit in their abilities at 10 cps. i found 10 cps more irritating than the others. fortunately i didn't really phrase out. another we were introduced there for the first time was the centrifuge, a 25-foot arm on a human centrifuge that would go around. they rarn us to the 8g level which is approximately what was going to be expected during launch and reentry on project mercury. project chamber run, this was done differently. it was done where you go up in the normal pressure chamber you go up until you're up into high altitude at reduced pressure, breepthing oxygen, of course. but then, instead of letting it down gently as they normally do, they brought it down at approximately the same rate as though you were coming back in from space. and you were supposed to vent out your ears as the pressure built up, of course. this was important for this reason. when you make your reentry from space, as you come back in -- as we were to come back in in that
mrkry spacecraft, you were going straight down once you decelerated and were falling down into the thicker part of the atmosphere. you would be going super sonic straight down. with a helmet on and you couldn't get in and twitch your nose. if your nose ichd you couldn't get into it. you're there doing like we all do in airliners making your chin go and making your nose go back and forth and trying to make pressure go back into your ears. that was a different one than we had ever had before. psychological tests were sbroesting, too. there was good reason for that. it had indication from submariners and people in the antarctic on projects down there, when you're in isolation for a lengthy period of time, you may have enough sensory deprivation that you develop anxiety, depression, even psychosis. they didn't want anyone up in the spacecraft with psychosis. they gave us all sorts of tests.
the first one was just a plain iq test. it remains secret as to what our iq was, whether they picked the an iq test on all of us, ran multiple questionnaires. we had teams of psychiatrists there doing this. i don't know how many rorschach, ink blot tests we went to, but there were dozensof this on you what do you think this looks like? to any they always looked like birds or butterflies, one or the other. i think i was reminded of a joke that was going around back at that time of the psychiatrist who had a patient that showed him the rorschach prints, the ink blotz and asked him what he thought of that. the patient the most lurid details of pornographic activity like you wouldn't andon. he finally got the fellow
he goes into this pornographic thing again and away they go. this went on about ten times. the psychiatrist is getting disgusted. he hadn't seen anything except pornographic things he described in great detail. he said why do you respond that way? the patient said don't blame me, doc. you're the one showing the dirty pictures. there were other ones that were interesting. go home tonight and take out a piece of paper and write down the answer 20 times to who am i? you'll find that you can do a lot of things. at that time i could say i'm a husband. i'm a father. i'm a marine. i'm a pilot. i'm a so and so and you get up to 15 or 16 and it's hard to get those last four or five. exactly what they were trying to do with that one, i never knew either. any way. we went through all of these interviews and pictures of where
you would describe pictures of where they would say draw a picture of your choosing on this piece of paper that would illustrate truth or honestly. that's getting in the abstract. karen, a clinical psychologist, may make something out of this, those were things that we didn't know how to analyze at that time so you just went along and did the best job you could. pete conrad, he was a great guy, one of the finest astronauts we ever had, he just had an attitude and sense of humor that was great. this actually happened with pete. he was in with one of the psychiatrists one day and the psychiatrist put out a plain piece of white paper. slid it to pete. what do you see? and pete looked at it and said the first thing i see is you got it upside down. that could have had something to do with pete not being selected
in the first group. he was selected in the next group that went through and eventually wound up going to the moon and had a great flight there. after all of these tests we were selected and announced in april of 1959 announced the seven. spacecraft was still being defined and some of that is interesting. we were behind in our ability to go into space because we were better than the soviets were technically. sounds backwards. except you have to remember that the boosters we were using were ones designed for nuclear weapons. we had been able to miniaturize nuclear weapons at that time or make them much smaller because we were better technically. they had not been able to do that. they still had nuclear weapons weighing in thousands of pounds so they had to develop a larger booster. when the space program came around to where we're going to send manned spacecraft up, they had an advantage. they could practically put their house up if they wanted to where we could get up just over 4,000 pounds and that was max.
to do the "mercury" spacecraft that you see in the hall outside, we were trying to save every pound that we possibly could. it was only a one-person spacecraft. a light structure. they even went with 100% oxygen environment because you could -- that gave you the same oxygen absorption at 27,000 feet at only 5 psi instead of 14.72 like sea level here right now. you went with a lower pressure but with 100% oxygen which let you have the same oxygen intake that we have right here on earth. that way you could build a lighter spacecraft and didn't have to have structure as high because it was only 5 psi instead of higher pressure you want in the vacuum of space. the original spacecraft had no window except for a little portal on the left where you could tell whether it was light or dark out of that.
early on the powers that be and people at nasa said we should put a window in even though it added a few pounds to the spacecraft. it did add some weight. used to call it a capsule. i referred to that already a couple times here. we later came around to describing it as a spacecraft but we're still calling it a capsule. after my flight bob hope said it was the first time in history that a capsule had taken a man. another thing people were surprised about is nasa had a rule that prohibited any camera from being onboard. it could be automatic but they were afraid if you had a hand held camera that it might distract you enough that you wouldn't pay attention to what you were supposed to be paying attention to. i thought that was ridiculous.
if we're going to be that badly bent out of shape psychologically we probably shouldn't go up there to begin with. he finally agreed that we ought to take a camera. we were searching for a camera that could have a pistol grip on it that you could trigger the camera like this to use this motion to advance the film. we hadn't settled on a camera yet. there was one not working the way we wanted it to work. i was downtown in cocoa beach and saw in a drugstore corner a new camera with automatic exposure. it was brand new. it looked like one we could use for a hand grip. and so i bought it for 45 bucks and took it out to -- we adapted it in the machine shot. nasa didn't have a photo shop at that time. adapted it.
that was the little camera that took what i believe are the first pictures handheld pictures ever taken of space. the ones that you've seen probably of north africa with the dust storms and atlas mountains and those pictures have been pretty well distributed. nasa has not reimbursed me to this day. sean o'keefe, where are you? i know he's here. he was here a little while ago. we went into training then different types of training. physical training, nasa to this day starting back then leaves you on your own to stay in shape. however you want to do it. running, jogging, swimming, playing handball, whatever you want to do. be in good shape at flight time. we got into academics, so on, simulator, those are standard. you have seen those. there were different types of
they weren't sure what we were getting into in this new environment in space. they put us through training on things that didn't have to be done that aren't done now but at that time they thought it safer to do these things so -- they didn't want to leave any stone unturned if we were going to go into space. in a slowly removing room in pensacola where they do sea sick studies down there, the doctor down there was the one who is the world's greatest expert on motion sickness. he had a room where you sat in there and slowly revolved. you didn't know that. you had no sensation until you moved yourself. when you started to throw something across the room, you had to arc it like this and it would go across the room on a curve because the room was turning. if you try to hit a softball and throw it across the room 10 feet or 12 feet into a waste basket. if you threw it at the waste
basket it arced off this way so you threw it this way so it would come down. the objective was not just to play games. it was to give you as many fouled up cues, cross cues as you could possibly get. your vision was one. deep body senses were another. your feel was another. every time you moved your head you got a different sensation in this thing. we trained that -- they don't use that for training anymore. we didn't know what the human body could take on the centrifuge. how many gs could you take? how long did you -- where did you stop operating if you were going up and this thing ran away and went to high gs or you made a tough, steeper re-entry because of some error, what would happen? so we went up to the naval air development center at johnsville where they had a 50-foot human centrifuge up there. they could mount the capsule,
mount a similar thing with a cockpit on it at the end of this 50-foot arm. if you went out there and you were out at that 50-foot arm at the end of it and you're lying down like this in the bottom of this thing and it's going to turn and go around like this, as it went around then, it turned up like that so that your body was taking the gs out here and we got up, we rode that thing at lower levels first, but finally got up to 16 gs, and that's a gut-buster. i never want to do that again. but al shepard and cooper and i, i think, were the three that did that. worked it up slowly. and at 16, even in that position where the gs are being taken in this direction, you had to just tense every muscle as hard as you could to keep enough blood up in your head to keep from passing out. and we got, at that point it was getting tenuous enough, we didn't push it any further because wero